By Warren Beck, Social Security District Manager in Syracuse
We continue to make it easier for you to access our programs and benefits. Our website offers a convenient way to apply for benefits online.
Here are five ways you can apply for benefits using ssa.gov.
1. Retirement or Spouse’s Benefits — You must be at least 61 years and 9 months and want your benefits to start in no more than four months. Apply at www.ssa.gov/retirement.
2. Disability Benefits — You can use our online application, available at www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability to apply for disability benefits if you:
• Are age 18 or older.
• Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
• Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
• Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days. If your application was recently denied, our online appeal application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made. Please visit www.ssa.gov/apply/appeal-decision-we-made.
3. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — SSI provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness who have income and resources below specific financial limits. SSI payments are also made to people aged 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial qualifications. If you meet certain requirements, you may begin the process online by letting us know you would like to apply for SSI at www.ssa.gov/ssi. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call your local Social Security office to make an appointment to apply.
4. Medicare — Medicare is a federal health insurance program for:
• People aged 65 or older.
• Some people younger than 65 who have disabilities.
• People with end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
• If you are not already receiving Social Security benefits, you should apply for Medicare 3 months before turning age 65 at www.ssa.gov/medicare.
5. Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs — The Extra Help program helps with the cost of your prescription drugs, like deductibles and copays. People who need assistance with the cost of medications can apply for Extra Help at www.ssa.gov/medicare/part-d-extra-help.
Please share this information with those who need it.
Q: I lost my Medicare card. How can I get replacement?
A: The easiest and newest way to get a replacement Medicare card is by using your My Social Security account. Go to www.ssa.gov/myaccount for more information on how to create an account. You also can get a replacement Medicare card by calling us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Keep your card in a safe place. You don’t want anyone getting hold of your Social Security number. They could steal your identity.
Q: I pay my monthly premium directly to my Medicare prescription drug plan provider. Why can’t I also pay my income-related monthly adjustment amount directly to my Medicare prescription drug plan provider?
A: By law, we must deduct your income-related monthly adjustment amount from your Social Security payments. If the amount you owe is more than the amount of your payment, or you don’t get monthly payments, you will get a separate bill from another federal agency, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or the Railroad Retirement Board. Read Medicare Premiums: Rules for Higher-Income Beneficiaries for an idea of what you can expect to pay at www.ssa.gov/pubs.
Q: I’m retiring early, at age 62, and I receive investment income from a rental property I own. Does investment income count as earnings?
A: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. You can retire online at www.ssa.gov. For more information, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).